A young girl from Camrose, Alta. with severe cerebral palsy is heading to Disney World – with her seven brothers and sisters – thanks to the Children’s Wish Foundation.
Chloe, 4, has a form of cerebral palsy where she has lots of movements; she is confined to a wheelchair most of the time, according to her mother Candra Sexton.
“She also has a G-tube, so she is fed through her stomach directly. She doesn’t swallow anything,” Candra said.
“But she is a joy. She’s a super happy kid and we worked on lots of communication recently so she’s starting to communicate.”
On Saturday morning, all 10 members of the Sexton family, who live in Camrose, arrived at Edmonton International Airport to catch a flight to Orlando, Fla. for the seven-day trip.
Three of the Sexton kids are Candra’s biological children, four are adopted from Africa and Chloe was adopted two years ago from the Calgary area, Candra said.
The trip from the Children’s Wish Foundation left them feeling overwhelmed, in a good way.
“We don’t often travel with eight kids in an airplane so we’re really excited to be able to do this and just create some new family memories,” Candra said.
“This is our first big family trip with Chloe. We’ve spent the last two years getting to know her and sticking close to home.”
Riley, the children’s father, said the Disney World trip is incredible because the entire family will be there with Chloe.
“It’s one of those things you never think it’s going to happen to you,” he said.
“For us, it means a family memory that will probably be for a lifetime, something we’ll never do like this ever again.”
Riley said he expects the trip will include “significant bonding time” for the family and for Chloe.
“We’ve just been really trying to encourage her… There’s a world of opportunity for her – to keep pushing her with her communication and mobility. But for her just to have some joy and experience rides and all sorts of stuff she wouldn’t normally get to experience.”
Roxann Vaos, development coordinator for the Children’s Wish Foundation, said the family’s story is unique.
“It’s one of the larger families we’ve sent travelling. We always send the whole family. It’s a little more unusual these days to see a family with eight children,” she said.
The Sextons’ children range in age from four to 13; Candra said her children are always willing to help with Chloe.
“If I need someone to carry her somewhere or lift her wheelchair into our van… they’ve done really, really well at accepting someone who is a bit differently abled from them,” she said.
The family said Chloe likes music and they are hopeful the four-year-old will like the music and parades at Disney World. They are also looking forward to amusement park rides that are wheelchair accessible.
Vaos said the trip includes a stay at the Give Kids the World resort, a special resort for wish children, as well as front-of-line passes for Disney World.
The Children’s Wish Foundation grants wishes to children between the ages of three and 17 who are diagnosed with life-threatening conditions.